While I have always desired an L word squad (which I am slowly but surely assembling! Yay NYC!). I also have a lot of close straight girl friends. Those straight girl friends are used to me begging them to come to gay shit with me. They don’t really have a choice at this point.
I hang out with a few different friend groups. Last year, I went to pride with a group of girls I went to college with. I’m the only lesbian in the group. Luckily, I’ve never really felt jealous of my friends. They are all beautiful, successful and cool, but, though I can be insecure, I’ve never compared myself to them. Their happiness is my happiness. I thought I’d never feel jealousy. And then my friend Jill met a girlfriend at Pride. And BITCH, was I jealous!
Jill, Alexa, and I started out having an awesome time. We assembled our sluttiest outfits, pregamed on a Greenpoint rooftop, and set off to Christopher Street. We hooted and hollered at the parade floats, drank those quintessential sketchy plastic bottle rum drinks that are sold on the street, danced, covered ourselves in glitter, and made friends with strangers.
Then, we went to Lot 45 for a Hot Rabbit Party. Hot lesbian central!
Having just gotten over a bad break up, I was dying to make out with a cute girl. I ran into some friends and some time in-between downing shots and scream-singing Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” Jill disappeared. My friends and I have a super strict girl code about not losing each other at bars (unless we want to be lost) so I set out to find her. She was talking to a girl of the ~lesbian variety~. I waved to her and she nodded feverishly, giving me a thumbs up. I didn’t want to cramp her style so I stayed with my other friends. The night wore on. We scream sang some more (Bikini Kill this time!). Though the night was fun, I was getting tired. Jill and hot chapstick lesbian were still canoodling. I wanted to be a good friend and be supportive.
But I. Felt. Jealous.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking…I have feelings for Jill. But I don’t! That would be the most simple explanation. But what was going on inside of me was more subtle, more insidious…. it was internalized misogyny. I liked being the token lesbian in our friend group. I liked getting all the attention. I liked showing off how much cooler gay clubs are. I liked bragging to them that I never have to fake an orgasm. I realized I now saw Jill as my competition. And it infuriated me!
I kept a happy face that night, and waited for her while she talked to the girl. I didn’t leave without her because we had plans to go home together. Even when I’m cranky, I’m still a ride or die. In the cab right home, she giddily recounted her conversation to me. “I think I like her!” she gushed, and I did an academy award winning performance of pretending to be excited for her. Even though I was feeling terrible about myself, I engaged with my friend. No matter what, she’s my bitch. But inside, I wondered if she’d forget about it the next day. We drunkenly devoured a pizza and fell asleep. The next morning, she agonized over whether to say hey or hi to her potential bae. She planned a date at a hipster Brooklyn bar. She was committed to trying out the lesbian life.
I hoped I’d feel less grumpy about the whole thing, but something still didn’t sit right. Am I really not as evolved as I thought? I panicked. Like, really freaked out. I consulted every person I know about these terrible feelings. I was angry. I felt like Jill was invading my territory. Most of my queer friends said it was because I perhaps thought she was being a “tourist,” but I’ve always thought experimentation was healthy. Whatever the reasons for my unidentified feelings of rage, I couldn’t talk to Jill about it. I reasoned that perhaps that night was a fluke, and she’d go back to being straight soon.
A week went by, and she texted me for sex advice. If there’s one thing I love talking about, it’s strap-on sex. But I wasn’t my usual strap-on enthusiast self. I felt weird. I felt like she was trying to let me know she was in my world and rocking it better than me. Meanwhile she just wanted to know if she was a top or a bottom. (Homegirl is definitely a top.)
Instead of going into explicit detail which I’d normally do, I sent a vague “don’t be nervous!” Why was I acting this way? I hated myself for it but I couldn’t stop.
After months went by and they were still seeing each other, I realized it wasn’t a fluke. I felt like a bitch for thinking it was. We were still talking occasionally and I was still keeping my weird jealousy to myself. Then she missed my birthday to hang out with the chapstick lesbian. Which, like, I totally get! When a girl is giving you multiple orgasms, you kind of forget you have friends and family. I wasn’t mad, I was jealous: There I was, a seasoned lez, but single as fuck. There Jill was, a baby dyke, and she already had the perfect relationship—she wouldn’t even leave her lesbian sex den for my birthday!
Then I got the f*ck over myself and met Jill for drinks.
“I felt weirdly jealous that you found a girlfriend at Pride,” I confessed.
As soon as I said it out loud, it lost all of its power. All I wanted to do was dish with my friend. It had nothing to do with her. It had nothing to do with tourism. I was unhappy with myself, that I had been so badly hurt, I was scared to put myself out there and talk to girls. I envied Jill’s confidence, not her potential queerness. I was wallowing in my aloneness.
We talked about everything. Firstly, our feelings. Then intellectual shit! One of the reasons I love Jill is she’s always down to have an intense-ass dissertation level conversation about sex and gender. We talked about the concept of tourism, pansexuality, and what a petty asshole I had been to feel jealous. By the end of it, I was elated to have a friend to talk to about sleeping with girls with, whether she’s experimenting, bi, queer, gay, straight or none of the above. I felt ashamed that I ever was threatened and so grateful that my gracious, understanding friend was willing to talk it out. I was happy I confronted my insecurity and identified where my emotions were coming from. So we tossed back some bourbon, listened to Lana Del Rey and discussed strap-ons. I had added to my L Word squad, and she was my best friend.
If you’re a baby dyke and a seasoned lez is being cold about your foray into lesbianism, know that it’s probably got nothing to do with you. If you’re a seasoned lez and one of your straight friends is feeling curious, don’t be an asshole. Experimentation is valid. Whether they discover that they’re gay, bi, queer or confirm that they are definitely straight, be there for them.